Refridgeration HELP

Discussion in 'Alternative Energy' started by vicker, Oct 1, 2006.

  1. vicker

    vicker Well-Known Member

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    We are off grid and have been using a very old Servel propane fridge. The fridge works too dang well :) The thermostat was broke when we bought it used. I put a smaller orifice in it, and it works great in the summer, but from now till June it freezes everything unless I turn it off at night. My wife (once again) froze the salad and has had it with this fridge. I can't find the post that talked of using a chest style freezer as a fridge.
    Can someone please help? If you know of where I could get the parts to fix the Servel, great. If you can provide me with a link to the chest freezer/fridge, i thank you and my wife thanks you :bouncy:
     
  2. tyusclan

    tyusclan Well-Known Member

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    Check with Lehman's. They carry Servel's, and can usually get parts for most of the stuff they sell.

    www.lehmans.com
     

  3. vicker

    vicker Well-Known Member

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    As far as I can tell no one will supply parts if I tell them the model #, because these earlier models were recalled due to a chance of carbonmonoxide if one lets the flue get clogged. I can't afford a new propane or ultra efficient 12v fridge right now. We've been making it fine in winter anywho. Just put things outside at night, and use coolers to keep them from freezing. But it is time for me to start moving toward a more constant and dependable form of refridgeration.
    What I am really wanting to find is that thread about using a deep freezer coupled with some unit from Grainger to use the freezer as a fridge. It was in this forum, but I can only go back two pages, and it was a few more pages than that. :shrug:
    :) I will wait patiently, someone will direct me directly :)
     
  4. patarini

    patarini Well-Known Member

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    Goto any beer making catalog, they will sell you the thermostat to use in a deep freeze to set the temp to whatever you want. some of the thermostats use batteries to run themselves, some need a small amout of ac. Do a google search for more info.
     
  5. wy_white_wolf

    wy_white_wolf Just howling at the moon

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  6. Fire-Man

    Fire-Man Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I could not get it through a Link------So I copied and pasted it. Hope it helps!! Randy


    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    http://metaefficient.com/metaeffici...ent-fridge.html

    Man Retrofits Freezer to Make an Ultra-Efficient Fridge

    An off-grid experimenter in Australia, Tom Chalko, has retrofitted a chest freezer to create a fridge that uses only 100 watt-hours (0.1 kWh) per day!

    full story in pdf http://www.builditsolar.com/Project...hest_fridge.pdf

    For those of you who want to go solar.

    Henk

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    #2 08-05-2005, 11:49 AM
    Rick Join Date: May 2002
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    I love the way that man thinks!

    Looks like a winning idea to me. You might even be able to convert it into a side by side with a small freezer compartment that would keep the fridge side cool.
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    #3 08-05-2005, 12:09 PM
    wy_white_wolf Join Date: Oct 2004
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    I've read other articles going back into the 70's of people that have done basicly the same thing. So this is not really anything new. Even read of a few that were custom built. They just never caught on because of the inconvience of a chest refrigerator.

    Remember one that was a custom job that was only a foot deep inside. Reasoning was that you really never put anything in thats over a foot tall so that's deep enough. It was also built with isulation ratings of around r40in the bottom and sides. Lid was less like r20. It used like 25 watts a day if you didn't open it. Used an additional 5 watts for every time you opened it for 15 seconds. They also had a custom freezer done with similar results.

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    #4 08-05-2005, 01:53 PM
    cfabe Join Date: Feb 2005
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    My initial reaction was that it'd be pretty inconvienent, but the more I think about it I don't think it'd be so bad. Our fridge is usually full enough that you have to crouch down anyway to find what you want, leaning into a chest fridge wouldn't be much worse.

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    #5 08-05-2005, 03:51 PM
    MarkNH Join Date: Apr 2003
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    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    I don't understand this one. If the freezer is working properly, shouldn't it not be running if the temp is below a certain setting?

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    #6 08-05-2005, 03:59 PM
    wy_white_wolf Join Date: Oct 2004
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    Quote:
    Originally Posted by MarkNH
    I don't understand this one. If the freezer is working properly, shouldn't it not be running if the temp is below a certain setting?



    When the electricity kicks off the coils are colder than the temp of the freezer (sensor not placed next to coils). The Freezer continues to cool as the coils absorb more heat until they equalize temperature with the freezer. There-by dropping the temp below the setting.

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    #7 08-05-2005, 04:06 PM
    MarkNH Join Date: Apr 2003
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    Quote:
    Originally Posted by wy_white_wolf
    When the electricity kicks off the coils are colder than the temp of the freezer (sensor not placed next to coils). The Freezer continues to cool as the coils absorb more heat until they equalize temperature with the freezer. There-by dropping the temp below the setting.



    But once they equalize then the freezer should stop and not restart until the temp sensor goes above the desired temp + some delta factor right?

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    #8 08-05-2005, 04:11 PM
    wy_white_wolf Join Date: Oct 2004
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    Yes. By the settings he talks about it restarts at a little over 7 Deg C

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    #9 09-19-2005, 04:21 PM
    HermitJohn Join Date: May 2002
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    Somebody referred me back to this thread. Read the article including the pdf version. Quite interesting, but he doesnt mention any real detail of the thermostat. Is this a digital furnace thermostat, or if not, what was it designed for and where do you find one? Latching mechanism? How did he make it switch current off and on to the freezer? Some sort of relay? No experience with digital thermostats and even have to think back a bunch to vaguely remember the old mercury switch thermostats on furnaces. Been heating with wood the last 25 years.
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    #10 09-19-2005, 07:04 PM
    mightybooboo Join Date: Feb 2004
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    HJohn,my same concerns.Wish one of the gurus here would build one with USA parts and stick a kill o watt meter on the before and after.That would really be nice to see.

    booboo

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    #11 09-19-2005, 08:44 PM
    HermitJohn Join Date: May 2002
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    Ok, little looking about and found this interesting discussion on same topic: http://www.wind-sun.com/smf/index.php?topic=1073.new

    They are kinda figuring maybe twice energy use of what the Aussie is claiming but thats still very good. They also give couple links to auxillary thermostats to do just what the Aussie did with whatever mystery digital thermostat he used. Apparently people use these to convert refrigerators AND chest freezers into wine and beer storage. Who knew? And low tech so I can understand. No soldering required.

    http://ceisites.com/9025.html

    http://www.morebeer.com/product.html?product_id=16663

    Oh, and one of guys posting said he is going to try it, has a new chest freezer on the way. Going to use it as a freezer if this experiment doesnt work out. I've got the site bookmarked and hope he posts back.
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    #12 09-19-2005, 11:49 PM
    mightybooboo Join Date: Feb 2004
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    Great John,be sure to post the results when they write back,I will check out your links,thanks!

    BooBoo

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  7. Fire-Man

    Fire-Man Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Maybe we are all a bit late to the chest refrigerator party. Look at the Crosley freezer with optional external thermostat to convert it to a chest refrigerator. Also the DC Sundanzer chest refrigerator.

    http://www.backwoodssolar.com/Catal...2/refriger2.htm

    Alas they dont give energy consumption figures for the Crosley used as a refrigerator.
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    #14 09-20-2005, 07:29 AM
    mikell Join Date: Nov 2002
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    Looks like he is using a 220 Volt kill a watt meter where can I find one. Actually I could use a half a dozen of them.

    mikell

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    #15 09-20-2005, 12:13 PM
    mightybooboo Join Date: Feb 2004
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    bump

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    #16 09-22-2005, 03:46 PM
    Fire-Man Join Date: Apr 2005
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    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mightybooboo
    HJohn,my same concerns.Wish one of the gurus here would build one with USA parts and stick a kill o watt meter on the before and after.That would really be nice to see.

    booboo



    I went today and bought a 7 cubic ft freezer------have it hooked up to a thermostat and plugged into a watt meter. Will give results in a couple of days. Randy

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    #17 09-22-2005, 05:37 PM
    HermitJohn Join Date: May 2002
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    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Fire-Man
    I went today and bought a 7 cubic ft freezer------have it hooked up to a thermostat and plugged into a watt meter. Will give results in a couple of days. Randy



    COOL, or at least I hope so.
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    #18 09-22-2005, 05:55 PM
    mightybooboo Join Date: Feb 2004
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    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Fire-Man
    I went today and bought a 7 cubic ft freezer------have it hooked up to a thermostat and plugged into a watt meter. Will give results in a couple of days. Randy



    Awesome Randy.

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    #19 09-22-2005, 08:27 PM
    Fire-Man Join Date: Apr 2005
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    Here is my thoughts and my test. I bought a 7 cubic feet GE freezer from Wal*marts(sure there are more energy eff. ones out there). It was rated at app. 275kwh per year, thats about 775 watts per day. Using it as a refrigerator----Straight out the box it is drawing slightly less than 10 watts per hour, at that rate it will use 235 watts per day. Thats keeping it between 35 to 45 degree's, also it is empty. If I had alot of things in it, I feel it would take less watts per day to operate once what ever is in it got to the desired temp, but then again------if I was opening it several times aday---Hmmmmmm not sure. I think I will load it down with already cooled things from my other fridge tonight and see how it does. Its interesting!! More Later. Randy

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    #20 09-22-2005, 08:33 PM
    mightybooboo Join Date: Feb 2004
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    Randy,whats a comparable sized regular refer using a day,do you know that?
    Enjoying this thread a lot!

    booBoo

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    #21 09-22-2005, 09:41 PM
    greg273 Join Date: Aug 2003
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    Yes, do go on...this is facinating. Right now puzzled over how I'm going to have refrigeration without spending $1200 on a new propane fridge. I've got an old smaller electric fridge.... maybe If I SUPERINSULATE it and freeze a bunch of blocks of ice (from grid-power...) and stick them in there I can get my electric use WAY down. Gonna have to be WAY down in order to make this work with limited solar/battery power....


    greg

    (or maybe I can put the frigde outside on the back porch! No sunlight gets back there! That'd be nice and cold this winter). Sure beats having to spend over a thousand $$!)

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    Last edited by greg273 : 09-22-2005 at 09:44 PM.

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    #22 09-23-2005, 03:01 AM
    HermitJohn Join Date: May 2002
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    This is interesting. According to govt data, an Avanti 8.7cu ft refer only (no freezer compartment and manual defrost) RM901W would use 230kwatt per year or around 630 watts per day. The Avanti line seems relatively efficient for smaller refer/freezers. So with Randy's prelimary findings the simular size freezer run as a refer is considerably more efficient.

    Hmm, quick math....., the freezer run as a refer would save like $20 per year over the Avanti refer at my present 12cents per killowatt. However at double my present electric rate, which I can see happening sooner than I would like what with escalating energy prices, it starts making a significant difference. $40 per year savings would pay for the freezer in 5 year. And I doubt any ancient American refer even smallish and manual defrost would do any better than the Avanti RM901W so a simular size freezer run as refer would seem a good deal economically.

    But this is extrapolating too far ahead. Need to hear how Randy's setup performs over couple weeks.
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    Last edited by HermitJohn : 09-23-2005 at 03:27 AM.

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  8. Fire-Man

    Fire-Man Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mightybooboo
    Randy,whats a comparable sized regular refer using a day,do you know that?
    Enjoying this thread a lot!

    booBoo



    BooBoo--------You had to ask that question------------Got me to thinking(dangerous). You have caused me to start the process of getting another refrigerator for my shop. (I live off-grid, (gas fridge)but have a business on-grid that has a refrig/freezer in it.) I unplugged my kill-o-watt meter last night from my NEW fridge-project to test my old refrig, had to pull it away from the wall(the reason I have never checked it)-----plugged it into watt meter---------this morning--mercy I was shocked-----10 hrs later---3kwh exactly-------thats 300 watts per hr(7,200 watts per day)-------I am not sure about the cubic ft, probably around 12 to 15 but it is a refrig/freezer. I can't believe I have been paying app $25 per month to operate this fridge. I could buy another freezer like I bought yesterday- set them side by side("get-it" side by side refrig/freezer LOL)----it would use about 32 watts per/hr---the fridge project would use app 10 watts per/hr---------thats 42 watts per/hr--lets say 50(1200 watts per day for both) compared to 300 watts per/hr(7200 per/dy) mercy thats 6000 watts per day difference 2,190,000 watts per year difference(I just fainted)(don't no one figure how much extra it has cost me in the last 5 year (10,950,000 watts) (how long I have had it)to run that Beast)--I feel like I have been cheated--------Booboo this is your fault(THANKS) . I have been concentrating on my Off-grid place-----------But I think I need to check out more of my on-grid shop--------Money is Money. Going to plug the watt meter back into the new fridge project--Work with it some more---my heart or wallet can't handle the old one any more.
    I might have to leave this freezer/fridge project in my shop and buy another for my home. As I said above, I have a gas fridge at my off-grid place, but I ran across a good deal on 17 solar panels(1200 watts) already had 320 watts, so that was the reason for wanting to go electric---if I could get this fridge to operate on app 300 watts per day----I feel it would work good with the 1500 watts of panels. Man, this was a shock this early in the morning----And it is still back there running---------Got to Go. Randy

    PS-------Oh BooBoo----to answer your question-----I don't have a 7 cubic ft fridge to compare with this freezer deal. I have one of those small fridge's--about 18"x 17"x18"(small) it was using app 30 watts per hr compared to the 7 cubic ft freezer/fridge project at 10 watts per/hr--compared to the side by side at 300 watts per hr(The Beast).

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    Last edited by Fire-Man : 09-23-2005 at 10:42 AM.

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    #24 09-23-2005, 11:38 AM
    mightybooboo Join Date: Feb 2004
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    WOW!
    So in 2 weeks or so will you put the daily usage of your coolers up in a side by side(LOL) comparison?
    Like how much per day,and temps averages,things like that?Oh and how about propane use and costs per day of the propane and the electrics at your true Kw/hr rate(including all the fees,not just the 12 cents per Kw charge)
    Also,can you run the freezer for a couple days at zero degrees and give us that number?Maybe freeze some water bottles or such so we know what the usage would be like in the real world of freezer with food.

    What kind of deal did you get on the panels?What type inverter do you use,and does it idle?At what watts does it turn on?


    Thanks a lot Randy,this is an incredibly useful thread and I would REALLY like to thank you for this info

    Soooo....should we all have kill o watt meters and do you recommend a particular dealer?


    BooBoo

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    #25 09-23-2005, 11:54 AM
    mightybooboo Join Date: Feb 2004
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    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    BTW,you all using compact florescent bulbs?

    We can get them here on sale with an instant SCE rebate at the checkout,works out to about 1 dollar per bulb.

    The bright lights in our living room is up on an 'A' Frame ceiling fan(About 11 feet up).It has 4 bulbs.We used to have 4-100watt bulbs.Now we have 4-27watt CFs that put out just as much light,and they last 'forever'(well,a long time anyhow).Since 2000 I have replaced one.

    We save 300 watts/hr just from that simple change over.At 15 cents per kw/hr thats 15 cents saved every three hours/day average usage.Thats 4.50 a month.

    Bulbs paid for themselves in one month.

    CFs are simple, very considerable savings,and a fast payback.Gotta love em.

    BooBoo

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Last edited by mightybooboo : 09-23-2005 at 11:57 AM.

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    #26 09-23-2005, 12:16 PM
    mightybooboo Join Date: Feb 2004
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    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    At 15 cents kw/hr,your old frig costs 394 dollars a year to run.
    Your new combo would cost 65 dollars/year if the preliminary numbers pan out.
    saving you 328 dollars a year,or 3280 dollars over 10 years.

    Maybe someone should recheck my numbers.I used 50 watts/hr X 24 hours X 365 days for the combo,divided by 1000 x .15 cents per Kw/hr.

    Old refer 300 watts/hr X 24 hours X 365 days divided by 1000 x .15 cents per Kw/hr.

    Divided by 1000 to get Kw/hrs,correct?

    BooBoo

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    #
     
  9. Fire-Man

    Fire-Man Well-Known Member Supporter

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    23-2005, 12:16 PM
    mightybooboo Join Date: Feb 2004
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    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    At 15 cents kw/hr,your old frig costs 394 dollars a year to run.
    Your new combo would cost 65 dollars/year if the preliminary numbers pan out.
    saving you 328 dollars a year,or 3280 dollars over 10 years.

    Maybe someone should recheck my numbers.I used 50 watts/hr X 24 hours X 365 days for the combo,divided by 1000 x .15 cents per Kw/hr.

    Old refer 300 watts/hr X 24 hours X 365 days divided by 1000 x .15 cents per Kw/hr.

    Divided by 1000 to get Kw/hrs,correct?

    BooBoo

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    #27 09-23-2005, 01:32 PM
    Fire-Man Join Date: Apr 2005
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    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mightybooboo
    What kind of deal did you get on the panels?What type inverter do you use,and does it idle?At what watts does it turn on?
    BooBoo



    I got lucky on the panels. I got 8-100 watt & 1-50 watt plug-n-play, 2-120 watt, 6-15 watt, 2 Trace C-60 charge controllers, 2-3000 watt cont. inverters(Galaxy, Vector Maxx) 8 T-125's batteries(All Good), then there was boxes of 4/0 jumper wires, disconnects, 2 isolators, fuse blocks, 10 breaker panel generator switch over box, amp and volt meters, 3-12" 12 volt attic fans-----Hey Man-----there was a Pile's of stuff and everything looked Good to New. Hey, You like Fun--------Guess what I payed for All. I can tell you the 17 panels at the cheapest price I could find for What I got was $9500, new on the computer, but that was the panels alone. The two C-60 were between $150 to $200 each. The generator switch box still had the price on it--$289--------I figured app $13,000 for the larger things, but there was lots of small things. It was not free by no means, but I got it at a Good Deal!!

    On Gas fridge-------I don't know what it takes because I live alone and only use the gas fridge when my G/F is coming for the weekend. We are planning to get married in about 1 year(she has to relocate here(40 minutes away) and its her daughters Senior Year--waiting till she graduate's), I am trying to get everything ready for her arrivial. My Business is about 1/2 mile from where I am living------I hang out in it most of the time. I basically Sleep and shower where I live---Watch TV at night some. I never cook there unless she is staying for the weekend. When we get married, we want everything ready so we can stay back there and only go to the "Shop" only when I am open for Business. She is a Outdoor Woman and LOVES my "Homestead" place.
    The Inverter I am using right now is a Cobra 2500 watt. It cuts off at app 10 volts. I have a 3/4hp water pump and TV. a pool pump draws about 110 watts, but I only run it a couple hrs per day, Right now I have a bittie brooder that I run at night, draws about 150 watts while on(got to keep them Keets warm). I always have plenty of electric(solar), but I am sure I will have to conserve when her and her 7yr old son move in with me-------LOL-------cut that lite and tv off Boy-------Will probably be my most used words--LOL. Got to have enough watts to run that NEW FRIDGE/freezer. WE will be using solar water heat for hot water with wood water heater back-up. Our gold is to try to be able to live months at the time with out leaving our "homestead". That is one reason to try to cut down on the gas used. WE will cook out in the yard most of the time using wood cook stove under a small screened in shed. We want to work only part-time for insurance and supplies. Hey this is my Dream---LOL!! Randy

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    #28 09-23-2005, 02:14 PM
    mightybooboo Join Date: Feb 2004
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    Ok,lemme guess,about 5 grand?Now you did say guess......
    Thats how I got my system,a guy who was selling out to move back ongrid.Paid 1200 I think for close to 3000 worth of stuff.Figured I paid retail for the 8 L-16s(2 years old), the controller,remote, 2 panels 75 watt monocrystallines,mounts,wires,cables,fuse and inverter/charger free.

    Plus guy kept throwing on stuff for next to nothing,want these lanterns,need a BIG extension cord?Want these 2 solar heating panels,i cant use em,2 old wagon wheels(wife wanted em so.....)......Sell this washer cheap(gave to nephew.) Think it was 1350 out the door,something like that

    Wound up with a home power backup and solar for the Winnebago.Need more deals like that.

    Like your plan.You got a really nice system there,and it still has room to grow,mighty fine!

    GF sounds like Mrs,she is excited to go offgrid and primitive so to speak,but we will only be reducing power,not giving up modern life.

    BooBoo

    mightybooboo
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    #29 09-23-2005, 02:42 PM
    Fire-Man Join Date: Apr 2005
    Location: South Carolina
    Posts: 400

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mightybooboo
    Ok,lemme guess,about 5 grand?Now you did say guess......BooBoo




    2 Grand---thats $2000-------I think the man that built the system --not sure why, but his house was sold-------The realitor, bought the house to resale Had to reshingle the house---All the panels had to be removed. He ran a add for the solar panels and things. I got Lucky------------Hey, He made the price and also told me he knew the things were worth thousands. I came Home with a BIG smile. Randy

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    #30 09-23-2005, 08:42 PM
    mightybooboo Join Date: Feb 2004
    Location: So Cal Mtns
    Posts: 8,913

    Wow!!!!!!
     
  10. vicker

    vicker Well-Known Member

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    Thanks, everyone :)
     
  11. jnap31

    jnap31 garden guy

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    Thanks for bringing this great thread back I have been thinking of it since I saw are electric bill has doubled to $80 I think it has something to do with my half sister stayingthere now and the ancient freezer and fridge getting older and dirty on th ecoils anyway I have been thinking on this topic looking forward to mybe getting a sundanzer or sunfrost soon.
     
  12. Fire-Man

    Fire-Man Well-Known Member Supporter

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    My Pleasure!! I am not using the freezer/fridge right now--------Plan change(GF and I broke up)---Got the cabin building on hold right now, but I still live off grid and still do most cooking etc in my on-grid shop. But I think I am going to start building in a few months.
    The freezer/fridge worked great while I had it set-up--------Keep in mind it was only a refrigerator-------If I turned it down to freeze ice---then everything else would freeze-----some people don't think of that. Have Fun!! Randy
     
  13. Jamaican stead

    Jamaican stead New Member

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    Sep 7, 2006
    The only chest fridge that Iv been able to find is by Dometic.

    http://www.dometic.com/templates/Product,1426,2120.aspx

    They have one that runs on gas (LP-nat-ect), and one that runs on kerosene. Here is an idea to think about is there a way to substitute biodiesel for kerosene ? Would be kind nice to run fridge off sun flower oil.